United States and Russian Federation trade barbs over meddling

President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base Md. Friday Feb. 16 2018 to travel to Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach Fla

Some Trump campaign officials also helped the Russian meddling _ unknowingly, the indictment says.

In responding to a question from a Russian politician about the USA and Russia potentially working together on cyber security, McMaster seemed to dismiss the notion. The revelation confirms the geopolitical context in which Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to place his chips on a major new influence campaign against the West.

"Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President". "The results of the election were not impacted".

The document, which spells out in detail how the Russians worked to support Trump's campaign, alleges that on or about February 10, 2016, the Russians internally circulated an outline of themes for future content to be posted on social media accounts. It is at odds with President Donald Trump's repeated questioning of those conclusions, which has continued throughout his first year in office.

On Friday, Trump seemed to say that the new indictments should put an end to allegations of campaign collusion.

The indictment - which includes the first charges laid by special counsel Robert Mueller for election interference - detailed a stunning operation launched in 2014 in a bid to sow social division in the U.S. and influence American politics "including the presidential election of 2016".

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday he had already seen evidence Russian Federation was targeting US elections in November, when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate are at stake, plus a host of positions in state governments.

Some of the defendants, posing as USA persons, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign, the indictment said on Friday.

A Russian lawmaker called the USA charges "another anti-Russian push", RIA reported. The Justice Department has increasingly favored indicting foreign defendants in absentia as a way of publicly shaming them and effectively barring them from foreign travel.

One of the companies targeted is the Internet Research Agency, based in St Petersburg, which the indictment said "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the USA political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election".

But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment is a reminder that "people are not always who they appear to be". "The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy". They also received training on how to post during USA holidays.

Twelve of the 13 defendants charged worked for the Internet Research Agency. "13 against billion-dollar budgets of special services?"

The IRA was financed by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Facebook and other social media networks have come under fire for failing to take action against efforts aimed at disrupting or influencing US elections, among other issues.

The group purchased ads on social media and other websites either "expressly advocating for the election of then-candidate Trump or expressly opposing Clinton", the indictment said. Among the ads: "JOIN our #HillaryClintonForPrison2016" and "Donald wants to defeat terrorism".

The notion that a foreign adversary might be targeting campaign officials never occurred to them, Wiles said. In each instance, the Russians used false USA personas to contact the officials.

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